Service Aftercare: PPF, Ceramic Coating, & Car Wash Maintenance Tips

Surface Aftercare is vital to preserving and maintaining automotive finishes. The same is true of enhanced protection technologies such as Paint Protection Film (PPF) or Ceramic Coatings. Proper & Regular vehicle washing enables ALL forms of protection to perform their best by avoiding topical contamination build up. Some topical contaminants are very aggressive and are able to wreak havoc if allowed to dwell on surfaces, potentially effecting how surface protection technologies work.

Aftercare: Ceramic Nano Coating – 0-7 Days After Installation

Ceramic Coated Vehicles require a different maintenance approach than past protection technologies. This is because the extremely low surface energy created by the ceramic nano coating requires maintenance with products containing similar characteristics.

* * Note: DO NOT Use a traditional wax or sealant on a coated vehicle. It will alter surface properties and lower the coating’s effectiveness.

Immediately after the coating is installed, please follow the following:

  • The longer the vehicle can be left to cure, preferable untouched, the better.
  • No unnecessary water exposure or car washing for 7 days.
  • Do not use a car shampoo with the words “wax” or “gloss” in the name or description. We recommend Meguiars Hyper Wash, or Optimum No Rinse (ONR) for Waterless or Rinseless washing methods. Dilute this with 1/2oz to 2 gallons of DISTILLED water.
  • Keep a regular vehicle wash schedule. E.g. once every 2 weeks for daily drivers.
  • Every 3-4 months apply CarPro Reload Silica Sealant to the surface. (product linked below)

Using the Silica Sealant builds up layers of protection over time. This is the best strategy to ensure painted surfaces remain at their optimal state for both performance and aesthetics.

Aftercare: Clear Bra / Paint Protection Film (PPF) – Post Installation

Vehicles protected with Clear Bra / PPF need regular maintenance wash cycles and a silica sealant application every 3-4 months.

PPF & Clear Bra Maintenance – 2 Weeks After Install (0-14 days)

  • Air bubbles and water take up to 14 days to fully dry. Do not push or touch them.
  • Never pick at film. This may compromise the installation and/or adhesive.
  • No unnecessary water exposure or car washing for at least 7 days.

Regular Ongoing Maintenance for PPF (15 days & after):

  • NEVER use a Pressure washer to clean PPF film edges. If dirty, GENTLY use a wash mitt to clean areas.
  • Keep a regular vehicle wash schedule. E.g. once every 2 weeks for daily drivers.
  • Every 3-4 months apply CarPro Reload to the surface to help with ease of maintenance and water spots. (product linked below)

Vehicle Car Washing Methods

All vehicles, including those protected with PPF and Ceramic Coatings, greatly benefit from regular wash intervals.

Below are links for Traditional Washing (with a bucket) and Waterless Washing (a solution in a spray bottle with towels) methods are demonstrated on the YouTube channel of my colleague @ OCDCarCare Los Angeles

Watch each demo a couple times to learn the ins and outs of each wash method:

Waterless Car Wash Method

Traditional Car Wash Method

Application Method of Silica Sealant to Vehicles with Coatings or PPF

We recommend applying a Silica based Sealant (such as CarPro Reload) at least 2-3 times a year for vehicles that are stored in garages during evenings. For vehicles living outside 24/7 365, we recommend applying as many as 4-5 times a year. This depends on the environmental and climate conditions of your area.

Application time is quick and simple; 20 minutes, even when done very slowly:

  • Start with a clean vehicle with cool panels in a shaded area.
  • Dilute into a spray bottle 1:1 – 1 part Reload to 1 part Distilled H2O.
  • Mist 2-3 sprays of the product onto a clean plush microfiber towel then spread evenly over the panel.
  • Use just enough product so it is detectable while wiping on.
  • Spread it evenly over the panel, wiping in an aerodynamic pattern.
  • After applying to the entire panel, use a second clean microfiber towel and wipe the section until the surface appears clear.
  • The silica sealant works great on wheels to protect them from ferrous iron contamination while making cleaning super simple and fast.